Workshop a game changer for young wāhine

13 June 2023 | News

A recent workshop and mentoring programme aimed at young wāhine gave several Lincoln University students the invaluable chance to explore their future career paths.

The programme, called Generation Change and hosted by the Agri-Women’s Development Trust, focused on inspiring 100 participants to make their mark in the food and fibre sectors by working on their mindset and outlining action plans for their future careers.

The group also spent time connecting with primary sector experts working in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Lincoln student Rhiannon Ivey, who’s in her first semester of a Master of Management in Agribusiness after completing the Bachelor of Agribusiness and Food Marketing, says the workshop was a transformative event that led her on a profound journey of self-reflection.

"I had been uncertain about my future specialisation, as the agribusiness sector’s vast and diverse nature made it challenging for me to pinpoint my true passion and identify where my skills would fit in.

"Although I had some areas of interest, I lacked the confidence and skills to make a decision about my future career path."

However, after delving into her core values, strengths and the meaningful impact she aspired to create in the industry, she realised agritourism management would be an ideal fit.

"Agritourism was something I had considered before but lacked the confidence to commit to, as I hadn’t fully planned out my future career," she says.

The workshop boosted my confidence and made me realise that pursuing something I value would lead to a fulfilling career I can enjoy and succeed in.

Rhiannon’s favourite part of the workshop was the opportunity to network with industry professionals who had held differing roles within the food and fibre sector.

"Engaging in real conversations about their personal experiences in the industry was incredibly valuable," she says. "They were open about their successes and shortcomings and offered a wealth of advice.

"I wish I had attended a workshop like this earlier in my university experience. Being able to ask questions and learn from talented individuals was a game changer."

Lincoln undergraduate students Olivia Cooke and Nicole Parnell, who are both in their second year of the Bachelor of Science (Conservation and Ecology), also had positive experiences at the workshop.

Olivia says she particularly enjoyed hearing about how industry professionals had got to where they are today.

"It was also valuable to learn that thriving, learning and failure are completely normal, and it is all a part of the process," she says.

"The workshop encouraged me to think about who I am, what my strengths and values are and how I can use them to my advantage.

"Throughout high school, we were never given the opportunity to understand how to plan for our desired career pathway. This workshop has equipped me with the skills and knowledge to embark on a successful career within the primary industries."

After graduating, Olivia hopes to initially carry out field work for the Department of Conservation and "over time, create my own startup business that aligns with my passions for helping others, the outdoors and conservation".

"Most importantly, I want to help encourage more young people to get involved in the primary industries," she says.

Nicole was interested in attending Generation Change to gain more insight into the careers available to her and to learn how her strengths and values could align with these opportunities.

"A highlight was making connections with people in the workforce who care about what they do and are excited for the future," she says. "The key takeaways for me included the importance of working to your strengths and the fact that values and skills are crucial."

IMAGE: Olivia Cooke and Nicole Parnell at the Generation Change workshop.